Businessweek Archives

Mobile paradox: When your head isn't with your body


I’m just getting around to reading danah boyd’s social media talk to her new colleagues at Microsoft. I was struck by this point:

(de)locatability. With the mobile, you are dislocated from any particular point in space, but at the same time, location-based technologies make location much more relevant. This paradox means that we are simultaneously more and less connected to physical space.

In other words, you’re walking through Times Square talking on a cell phone to a friend in Indiana. Your cellular network picks up your presence in New York and, increasingly, will be looking for location-based services to sell you there. And yet, your head is in Indiana. So in a sense, you might not be in a New York state of mind at all—at least until it’s time to eat.

Just when they develop the tools to figure out where we are, they also deliver the means for us to escape.


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